Baby name story: Storm

Dutch Merchant - Ships in a Storm (1670s) by Ludolf Bakhuizen

In October of 1636, Albert Andriessen Bradt and his wife Annetje* boarded the Wapen Van Rensselaerwyck in Amsterdam and set off for the New World. They arrived in New Netherland in March of 1637.

During the sea voyage, they welcomed their third child. He was born on November 2 during a violent storm, and so they named him Storm, fittingly. (The word is the same in both Dutch and English.)

During his early adulthood, Storm adopted the surname van der Zee, meaning “from/of the sea.” This was the surname he gave his wife Hilletje and their four children: Annatje Storm, Gerrit Storm, Wouter Stormsz, and Albert. (The “sz” ending in Dutch names is a contraction of –s zoon, or “-‘s son.”)

Storm Vanderzee’s first name ended up being passed down to many people — not just to his direct descendants, but also to the descendants of his seven siblings, and even to one of the children his widow had with her second husband (!).

What are your thoughts on the name Storm?

*Interestingly, neither one was Dutch by birth: Albert was originally from Norway, and Annetje was originally from Germany.

Sources: Storm Vanderzee – New York State Museum, Albert Andriessen Bradt – Wikipedia, Albert Andriessen Bradt (1607-1686) – WikiTree, Hilletie Lansing Vanderzee Ketelhuyn – New York State Museum, Hard to Kill (1990) – IMDb

P.S. The baby name Storm saw a steep rise in usage (as a boy name) in the U.S. in 1990. The next year, it reached the top 1,000 for the first time and remained there until 1997. Why the jump? My guess is the 1990 movie Hard to Kill, in which star Steven Seagal played Detective Mason Storm.

6 thoughts on “Baby name story: Storm

  1. I’ve always loved nature names, and storm is a fantastic one. I think a Marvel superheroine is called Storm.
    I also love the name Annatje (In norwegian I’d say- AHH-NAH-sheh) that has a delightful flow and the unusual spellings I love so much. Probably a good thing I only had one child. I’d’ve been like the mom who had 23 kids trying for a girl lol Lots of name to pick from for all those boys (and she’d need a little sister haha)

  2. tje is said in front behind the teeth. The Kje is almost in the middle of the tongue pushing up against the roof of the mouth. In English both sound like the SH sound, or it’s easier to say it that way. Took me a while to realize how they were saying it and doing it to begin to try it for myself. Trilling the R was hilarious to learn (lots of spit involved lol) A little boy was so confused I couldn’t trill my R so he grabbed my tongue and wagged it up and down and said, this is how you do it! hahaha I did get it eventually. I’ll bore you with one other cool thing about Norwegian from where I lived, when folks wanted to agree on something, instead of saying yes, they would inhale the sound, so it was like an inhaled YEAH. I was in such a habit to do that, when I got back to the US and did that folks thought I was choking lol

  3. Could Storm’s popularity in the US in the early 1990’s have to do with Operation Desert Storm (1990-1991)?

    In the Netherlands we had a short couple of years in the mid 2000’s when nature names were a bit of a hype. Every other teen I meet nowadays seems to be called Storm, Madelief (daisy), Merel (blackbird), Sterre (star), Lente (spring), Luna (star), Jasmijn (jasmine), Linde (linden tree), Fleur/Floor/Floortje (flower), Iris, Roos/Rosa, Raaf (raven), Tijm (thyme). We had Dutch celebrities choosing Vlinder (butterfly) and Bloem (flower).

    Back to Storm van der Zee – sounds a much better last name for Gossip Girl’s Dutch shipping company heiress Serena Van der Woodsen. Van der Woodsen sounds like old money but in reality doesn’t make sense: wood/woodsen aren’t nor have been Dutch words or names. She should have been Van der Woude (from the woods), or maybe Wâldsein (Frisian village formerly near a swamp forest). But then I never watched GG for its realistic names :)

    Thank you for another interesting post, Nancy!

  4. @Christa – How interesting about the inhalations! I had to go straight to YouTube to hear what they sounded like. I think I’d be pretty shocked to hear that sound in a real conversation.

  5. @Emma – Thank you for the cool comment! I don’t know much about Dutch names, so I appreciate the fact that you are educating me. :)

    You could be right about Desert Storm having been an influence, thank you for bringing it up! In fact, I’m reminded of a 1991 baby named Stormey for Desert Storm, so we know for sure that it inspired at least one name.

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